January is a big month for starting fresh and making resolutions, especially ones involving diet and exercise. But pregnant women need to be careful about jumping on the bandwagon with everyone else!
While a healthy lifestyle is indeed vital during pregnancy, expectant mothers need to be armed with specific information about exercising and dieting while pregnant. Below are some tips to help ensure you have a healthy pregnancy diet, that isn’t focused on weight loss.
Tips for a Healthy Diet During Pregnancy
You shouldn’t go on a weight loss diet during pregnancy, since you — and your growing babies — require the proper nutrients, (ACOG) included as part of a healthy pregnancy diet. Pregnant women should:
- Eat a variety of foods to get the nutrients they need, being sure to consume more protein, folic acid, and iron.
- Drink plenty of water daily.
- Take a daily prenatal vitamin supplement to ensure consumption of the right amounts of vitamins and minerals; the vitamin should contain folic acid.
- Limit fish consumption to about 12 ounces (approximately two servings) per week.
- Pass on unsafe foods, such as soft cheese, raw seafood, and raw or undercooked meat and poultry.
- Avoid eating too many processed foods, packaged snacks and sweets, instead focusing on eating whole foods.
Guidelines for Exercising During Pregnancy
Maintaining a regular exercise regimen during pregnancy can help women stay healthy and feel their best, improving posture and relieving common pregnancy discomforts such as fatigue and back pain.
The guidelines below for exercising during pregnancy can be reviewed here (ACOG).
- Pregnant women should always check with their healthcare provider before starting, continuing or changing an exercise routine.
- Low-impact exercises, such as walking and swimming, are safe for most pregnant women but should be approved by their medical professional.
- High risk for impact activities should be avoided.
- Drink water before, during, and after exercising to avoid becoming dehydrated, which can increase the risk of overheating or even trigger contractions.
- A maternity bra that provides the proper support, athletic shoes that fit well, and loose, comfortable clothing, should be worn when exercising.
- Using the "talk test" is an easy method to moderate exercise. If you can't talk- your intensity level may be too high.
- Finally, listen to your body and stop exercise if you are concerned, and seek medical advice immediately.
As always, consult your healthcare provider about your needs, as every mom is different and some require specific diets, altered exercise routines or other unique restrictions.
For further questions, please contact:
Aspen Birth Center-Childbirth Education